A close community has the power to do amazing things.
Communities find a way to lift people up in times of great struggle.
Colan Droneburg, a 17-year-old football player at Catoctin High School, took a seemingly innocuous hit to the head in a scrimmage on March 5.
Droneburg ran off the field dizzy and nauseous and fell unconscious on the sideline. Teammates surrounded him, and medical professionals rushed to his side. He was eventually flown via Maryland State Police helicopter to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma.
Droneburg was temporarily placed into a medically induced coma due to his brain injuries. “He had bleeding on both sides of the brain, but more so on the right,” Wade Droneburg, Colan’s brother said. “He’s doing physical therapy for his balance, neck, and strength.”
Droneburg has had to see neurologists for headaches, trouble with his vision, and amnesia, but with time and continued therapy, the family is optimistic that his condition will improve.
Colan’s cousin, Diane Bowers, set up a GoFundMe page for Colan’s recovery and upcoming medical expenses, with a $15,000 goal. The community smashed that goal in record time, donating $5,000 in the first hour, and beating the goal in just over a day.
To date, the total donations are over $27,000, with nearly 500 unique donors. “Thurmont is so wonderful, along with all of Frederick County,” Bowers said. “If you look at the donors, there are students from every school. It’s been a heartfelt experience.”
The Droneburg family has felt the love from the community following such a tough year. “It’s been amazing just to know that these people who we know and don’t know were willing to help us in any way possible,” Wade said. “We as a family really do appreciate it more than they realize.”
Times like these galvanize a community, and so many people coming together to help a family in a difficult situation shows the character of the people in Northern Frederick County. Something like this is bigger than football, and everyone’s efforts to support the Droneburg family has made a huge difference.
Despite a tragic end to his senior football season and a lot of challenges ahead for recovery, Droneburg has been making strides every day. “It’s coming along, and he’s getting memories back,” Wade said.
Brain injuries can be tremendously unpredictable, and the effects can be permanent depending on the severity of the injury. Fortunately for Droneburg, he has a great support system behind him, and a whole team of football players cheering him on.
Droneburg will be the team’s greatest source of inspiration throughout the rest of the adjusted season. Colan will be fighting right alongside the Cougars over the coming months.
“He’s got an appointment at the end of March for another scan, and in April he goes for a neurological evaluation and more going forward,” Wade said. “It’s going to be a long road.”
Between Droneburg’s physical therapy and hospital bills, the family could use all the help they can get. To donate, visit their GoFundMe page online at: www.gofundme.com/f/help-colan-recover-catoctin-football-injury.
Senior Colan Droneburg suits up for the Catoctin Cougars.